HC Deb 27 September 1926 vol 199 cc249-50

(by Private Notice) asked the Postmaster-General whether, when a subscriber on the telephone is called up and asked his number or name, he has the right to demand who is calling, and in the event of this being refused and of his refusing to give his name or number until so informed, the operator has the right and the Department claims the right to cut off the subscriber and refuse to inform him, and that this applies to trunk and official operators generally.

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir William Mitchell-Thomson)

The operator controlling a trunk call is instructed to verify the correctness of the connection by asking the called subscriber to state his number. The name (and in many cases, even the number) of the calling subscriber is unknown to the operator, who is generally unable to reply to questions as to the identity of the caller. Subscribers very rarely refuse to co-operate in facilitating the correct connection of trunk calls. In such cases the operator should explain to the subscriber the reason for the inquiry and if he still refuses to assist, should make the connection without further attempts at verification.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what he states is in direct opposition to the advice given in the telephone book, which is to the effect that the caller must give his number or his office or whatever it may be before he asks a question of the subscriber; and does he think that these autocratic methods will make the telephone service more popular?


I am not aware that the practice which I have described in my reply conflicts in any way with the instructions in the book.